Updated 7:02 PT
The #6 Oregon Ducks hosted the California Golden Bears in Autzen Stadium today, and in defeating the Bears Oregon has kept themselves in the CFP conversation.
The Bears won the coin toss and deferred taking possession to the second half. On the first play of the game, the Bo Nix pass bounced off receiver Gary Bryant, Jr., and Cal was gifted a fluke interception, and had the ball on the Oregon 38.
The Bears advanced to the Ducks 24 yard line, and were stalled by the Oregon defense. Cal attempted a field goal, which was blocked and taken for a touchdown, but an offsides and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Oregon were both enforced, giving Cal a first down. On first and goal from the Oregon 9, Cal QB Fernando Mendoza pitched an interception to safety Steve Stephens IV, giving the Ducks the ball on their own 14.
Oregon’s first sustained drive of the game was nearly upended by penalties. A Bucky Irving touchdown pass was called back on an offensive pass interference call, and then an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Steven Jones took the Ducks back to the Cal 48 yard line.
No worries here, folks - Bo Nix promptly threw a 48 yard TD pass to Tez Johnson, and Oregon was on the board, 7-0.
California’s next drive was 3-and-out, and they punted, setting Oregon up on their own 24. Jordan James rushed to the 40, where pass incompletions ended the drive, forcing Oregon to punt.
Starting at their 15, the Golden Bears advanced seven yards, but a QB sack caused a fumble which the Ducks recovered at the Cal 1⁄2 yard line.
The QB keep by Bo Nix scored Oregon’s second TD and the Ducks were up 14-0.
The Oregon kickoff put the Bears on their own 25. On this drive, the Golden Bears were able to connect on a couple of long passes and advanced to the Oregon 24. The Ducks defense held Cal there and the Bears settled for a field goal, finally getting on the board 14-3.
The first Oregon play after the Cal kickoff resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Cal, and the Bears closed to 14-10.
Oregon started their next drive on their own 22, but the drive was not sharp. The Ducks were stopped at the Cal 35, and the Camden Lewis field goal attempt was not successful.
The Bears took over at their 35 yard line and a couple of big plays brought them to the Ducks 17 yard line, where it was Cal’s turn to stall and settle for a field goal, making the score 14-13.
The Ducks put together the best drive of the game thus far, going 74 yards in 12 plays, and Bo Nix ran the QB keeper from the 1-yard line for his second rushing TD of the game. This drive was highlighted by great running from Bucky Irving that spearheaded the Oregon thrust into the red zone. With 5:21 left in the half, the Ducks were up 21-13.
Cal’s next drive sputtered on a 3-and-out, giving the Ducks 4:18 to put together another scoring drive. Starting on their own 37, long passes to Gary Bryant Jr. and Troy Franklin had the Ducks on Cal’s 28 yard line. Two plays later, Box Nix connected with Tez Johnson, putting Oregon in the lead 28-13.
California got the ball back with 1:39 left in the half, and really needed to go into the half with some more points of the board. That’s exactly what did not happen, and after another dismal offensive showing, the Bears punted.
Oregon had a little over a minute on the clock, and that’s all they would need to score again. Oregon displayed excellent clock management, and with 10 seconds left until halftime, Nix hit Troy Franklin for the next score. Franklin had as impressive a catch as you’re likely to see:
Oregon went into the half with the 35-13 lead.
California was only able to muster 123 total yards in the first half. 46 of those yards came on two passes of 30 and 16 yards. RB Jaydn Ott ran for 47 yards.
The Ducks tallied 320 yards in the first half. Nix was 19/27 for 225 yards and three TDs, while rushing for another two scores. Bucky Irving ran for 85 yards in 13 attempts.
California received to start the second half and had an easier time scoring their next touchdown than they should have. The Bears drove the length of the field in six plays, culminating with a Jaydn Ott 20 yard TD run. Cal unsuccessfully attempted the 2-point conversion, making the score 35-19.
The Ducks could not get anything going on their first drive of the half and had to punt after going 3-and-out; however, punter Ross James belted a huge 64 yard punt that put Cal on their own three yard line.
Oregon kept the Bears pinned against their own goal line and Cal had to punt from their six-yard line. Oregon took over possession with great field position at the Cal 49.
After passes to Franklin and Johnson put Oregon on Cal’s 10 yard line, Bucky Irving ran those 10 yards in two plays for the Ducks score, and Oregon led 42-19.
California put together a solid drive on their next possession, and torpedoed their effort by fumbling and losing the ball at the Oregon 1-yard line. Unfortunately, Cal’s ball carrier, Javian Thomas, was injured on the play and had to leave the field on a stretcher with his neck immobilized.
The Ducks drove 99 yards for their next score, but had to overcome another of the many avoidable, self-inflicted penalties that they incurred during this game. Oregon did so, and Nix added another TD pass to Terrance Ferguson.
Cal’s woeful issues on offense continued and they went 3-and-out again.
Bo Nix’s day was done and Ty Thompson came in to lead Oregon’s next drive. Thompson’s outing was solid, and he looked comfortable in taking the Ducks to their next TD drive. Thompson had a couple of really nice throws before Jordan James took it into the endzone for the 56-19 lead.
On their next drive, Cal could not get past midfield and turned the ball over on downs.
Oregon took possession at the Cal 41. The Ducks methodically went down the field, and Oregon scored their next touchdown on a Ty Thompson 6-yard pass to Traeshon Holden.
Cal took over the ball and was content to run the clock out, bring us to our final score.
California finished their game with 286 total yards. Quarterback Fernando Mendoza ended his night 18/34 for 177 yards, no TDs, and one INT. Cal rushed for 109 yards, led by Jaydn Ott’s 93 yards in 20 carries. Jerimiah Hunter led the Cal receives with 5 catches for 64 yards. Cal was 3-14 on third down, underscoring their inability to drive the ball
Oregon put up 597 total yards, with 143 on the ground and 444 in the air. Bo Nix continues to be very accurate and had a completion rate of 76% on 29/38 passing for 386 yards, four TDs, and one INT. Nix also added a pair of short TD runs. Ty Thompson added 58 yards, going 6/8 with one TD.
The Ducks had to fight for every rushing yard they got today and were led by Bucky Irving’s 89 yards on 18 carries and 1 TD. Jordan James also had a TD and carried 7 times for 44 yards.
Tez Johnson had an amazing game, picking up 180 yards on 12 receptions and two TDs. Troy Franklin ended with 79 yards on 6 receptions and one TD.
Oregon continues to be a machine on offense, and was 10-14 on third down.
The Ducks had their share of self-inflicted wounds with nine penalties for 98 yards, and know they can’t get away with that against the better teams they will be facing from here on out. On the plus side, Oregon recovered two fumbles and picked up an interception - all of which were converted into touchdowns.
Come back and visit as we update today’s game with stats and the coach’s interview.